Foreign workers not displacing Singaporean PMETs: Tan Chuan-Jin

SINGAPORE - Outgoing Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has refuted claims that Singaporean professionals are being displaced by foreigners in an extensive blog post on Friday.

The unemployment rate of Singaporean PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) remained low at 2.9 per cent last year, while incomes have not stagnated in the last five years, wrote Mr Tan on the official blog for the Ministry of Manpower.

He will relinquish his position as Manpower Minister on May 4. He has taken over from Mr Chan Chun Sing at the Ministry of Social and Family Development from April 9.

"In fact, the real median income (adjusted for inflation) of Singaporean PMETs grew by about 2 per cent per annum between 2009 and 2014 while those of median Singaporean workers grew by 2.1 per cent per annum over the same period," Mr Tan said, adding that the PMET job market is "not a zero-sum game".

He also highlighted that the growth of foreign manpower has slowed in recent years.

"The growth rate of Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass holders has slowed from 20 per cent in 2011 to 4 per cent in 2014," he wrote.

Mr Tan said that the Government will "protect the interest of our locals" and not allow unfair hiring practices.

He also pointed out that mid-career Singaporeans now enjoy greater subsidies for training courses and the Government is providing more funding support for professional conversion programmes.

chuimin@sph.com.sg